If you live in an area where food is readily available, it’s possible to forget that not everyone has quick and easy access to food.
Across America, not everyone has access to fresh foods, and thus they live in what’s known as a food desert - an area with limited access to quality, affordable food.
Our friends at Sustainable America have created a toolkit to serve as a starter guide for fostering a more robust local food system in communities all across the country.
First, let’s define what exactly a food system is before we discuss the differences between industrial and local food systems.
A food system describes the network of parts required to grow, process, transport, store, sell, and consume food. The various types of food we consume daily go through quite a long journey from farmers to the tables of individual families.
Industrial food systems are the large mechanisms used to do all of the food system activities as a way to bring food to as many people as possible.
These more extensive systems enable us to have almost any kind of food we desire whenever we want it, and the production of food is ramped up, which brings cheaper food to more significant numbers of people.
However, there are tradeoffs with using industrial food systems. These include:
Rather than rely on industrial food systems to bring food to our local communities, residents of those communities can focus on local food systems to get them the nutrition they need.
Smaller local food systems can do everything that industrial food systems can do. It is just done on a much smaller scale.
There are many benefits of the small scale in terms of sustainability because it requires fewer systems and less planning to get fresh food to the residents of local communities.
Food produced and sold within a local food system is usually fresher and healthier because it is sold at its peak ripeness. Additionally, it requires fewer to no preservatives or chemicals because transportation concerns do not exist.
Local communities can also have access to specialty foods and varieties that may not be accessible on a larger scale.
Local food systems are quite beneficial for the local economy because they support local businesses and workers rather than giant corporations that do not contribute to a local economy.
The local food system provides a great sense of community, opens opportunities to access, and can provide flexibility and reliability during a crisis. Although the food may be a bit more expensive, you can be rest assured that you are supporting the local community.
If you are interested in spreading awareness of investing in local food systems, please download Sustainable America’s food system toolkit!
We have teamed up with Sustainable America because they share the same dedication to helping those interested in being a part of building a better local food system and a sustainable food and fuel future. Watt Watchers and Sustainable America want to help you support your local food systems and provide your community access to fresh, healthy foods that benefit your economy as well!
What is one element that is non-negotiable in life? Here's another clue, the component provides sustenance for the earth in a variety of ways. If you guessed water, you guessed right. This is one element that freely flows from sinks, showerheads, and bottles for our use. It is seemingly abundant in our modern lives.
But the truth is that water flow, access to water, and general distribution of water varies across the world due to different aspects. It can also vary depending on your region and advanced or elementary level of infrastructure.
Life would be drastically different if water didn't flow as seamlessly as it does at the present moment. We do not think about the basic infrastructure that helps make our modern lives more comfortable and seamless. We may even take it for granted; that is why we celebrate World Water Day.
World Water Day is an entire day focused on water, how we interact with water, and how we can modify behaviors and practices to preserve our relationship with water in the present and for generations to come. You can learn more about the history of water and how water has played such a significant role in our lives by watching this video by Power Trip!
Who doesn't like water? Everyone appreciates clean and potable water. That's the primary reason to celebrate World Water Day.
The second reason to celebrate it is that water awareness helps people understand the world's overall water situation. Remember, as noted above, water may seem like an abundant resource, but it is not.
World Water Day draws attention to the global water crisis and how sustainability efforts are crucial. It also brings attention to the need to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
The event, which takes place annually on March 22, will revolve around the idea of valuing water in our lives and its role in sustainable and healthy living. Remember that water usage is not only about looking at the price you pay on your water bills or at the grocery store when you purchase water bottles; rather, it is more about understanding its application in your everyday life.
While Earth is covered in water, not all of it is potable water. World Water Day emphasizes the importance of freshwater or drinkable water. At the present moment, at least 2.1 billion people do not have basic access to safe freshwater - an astounding number of people without basic access to freshwater in the modern era.
World Water Day came about in 1992, the year that the UN conference on the environment and general sustainable development took place in Brazil. The representatives decided that they would start to dedicate March 22 of each new year to celebrate the World Day for Water. This day’s observation fosters and encourages the awareness of water, sanitation, and ways to reduce poverty while increasing economic activity and overall sustainability.
Even emerging markets like India and others have problems that pertain to water. For instance, India’s ministry for water resources noted that the average water availability per individual in India dropped by 300 cubic meters and could fall further over the next decade. But that is just one country. It is also present in other nations ranging from Ethiopia to other nations around the world. As such, it is no surprise that it is a global initiative.
Water is vital in our economy. The element integrates into various parts of our lives and is intertwined with all lives on the planet and even astronauts who live outside of our planet.
The value of water is hard to grasp as it flows through every part of our day, from the food we eat to the electricity we consume to the clothes that we wear. It affects animal’s migratory patterns, general ecosystems, and is what makes the Earth so unique.
If we discount water today, we may not have it tomorrow. That is the central theme present in various parts of the world as the water dries up due to natural causes, general mismanagement, and other factors.
This resource is arguably the most precious as it lays a foundation for all kinds of life, from mankind to animals. Clean water and sanitation may seem like a simple goal in theory, but it is up to us to be more focused on conservation for the generations ahead of us! It will require more intensive thinking, modernization of infrastructure, global coordination, multidimensional approaches, and attention to preserve and safeguard water for present and future generations.
The average water consumer can conserve water by observing behaviors and instituting a few changes in their lives. For instance, did you know that water and electricity are intertwined? If you save electricity and power, you, in essence, conserve water utilization as well. Further, practice simple modifications such as using energy-efficient appliances, taking simple showers, and ensuring to use water as necessary when brushing teeth and minimizing leaks within the home. That can help to reduce water consumption overall.
Here at Watt Watchers, we aim to foster initiatives and implement campaigns to increase awareness among key conservation issues. These are the things that drive our organization to provide resources and deploy tools to help others take action to help generate more awareness about these issues within our various communities!
We are pleased to celebrate World Water Day with our global community and our local communities as well.
If you have any questions or concerns surrounding our campaigns, how we can help, and how we make a difference in the world today, reach out today!
Wouldn't it be great to have a day where you could celebrate the agricultural industry? Well, there is such an occasion. It is called Ag Day or National Ag Day and it’s celebrated March 24th!
We live in a fast-paced world, and we often find ourselves running from work to home or to other day-to-day activities and we can forget to think about simple elements like the food we eat! Everything from delicious steaks, avocado toast, lemon drizzle cake, or that chicken and chorizo recipe that we appreciate at our favorite restaurant.
These mouth-watering food items originate, and finally get to our tables because of the hard work and process of many people and organizations within the American agriculture industry.
Here is what you should know about Ag Day and the essentials of the American agriculture industry.
Ag Day is a fantastic day that appreciates the importance of agriculture and the value it provides to society in the modern era. It is a day that helps individuals take a moment and pay attention to the agriculture industry that provides the ingredients to restaurants, grocery stores, meal service providers, and homes so individuals can enjoy their delicious meals.
The agricultural industry is a vital domain to everyday life as it has compounded knowledge on various farming practices that add value to general society. This compounded knowledge which includes continuously improving farming practices, more effective ways of growing plants, and conserving energy, all results in society’s ability to feed people.
The pioneers of Ag Day present this concept so that individuals worldwide, especially those in the United States, can appreciate the agriculture industry's beneficial goods and services.
Ag Day brings together a host of entities that range from corporations, universities, agricultural organizations, nonprofit agencies, and even governmental organizations to recognize the importance of agriculture to our lives.
The initiative promotes agriculture and enables more Americans to learn more about the industry's various intricate aspects. They can learn about food processing, creation, modern agriculture methods, farming, horticulture, and other adjacent industries.
In essence, the National Ag Day provides you with awareness, helps you find out how you can get involved, shows you the vital roles of agriculture in a thriving society. Further, you can learn how this industry boosts the economy and enables an effective and streamlined way of living for millions of people in the United States.
The agriculture industry is responsible for the food we eat and other aspects of our lives as well. For instance, in addition to the delicious and healthy foods that we eat, they provide the materials for our apparel, hygiene items, general cleaning tools, fuel components, and even the books we read. The agricultural sector touches our lives in more ways than one.
Here is a simple breakdown of the different segments agriculture covers in our daily lives.
Food: Many of the food products that we consume originate in classic and modern farms worldwide. You can happily and joyfully eat a few of these foods after washing them; no cooking is necessary! Of course, a few of these items include tomatoes, apples, oranges, kiwis, blueberries, bananas, and other nutritious and healthy snacks like nuts. Other items require processing to turn into an item that we can use for streamlined consumption.
For instance, we can notice that the bread we eat comes from wheat that goes through several steps. At the same time, farms also house a wide variety of animals from cows to goats and chickens that provide us with a host of food items ranging from milk to eggs and butter.
Farm: The farm is where a large portion of the action takes place. A great deal of work occurs at the farm as it has a great portion of equipment and infrastructure set to conduct many initiatives. The farm is crucial in many ways, from raising animals to production to minor processing to other aspects before moving it to the next part of the process.
Forestry: Did you know that the agriculture industry is also involved in forestry? They can grow acres of trees and other plants critical for a wide variety of species. The forestry component helps the lumber industry survive and thrive, which leads to value in the housing sector.
Flowers: Do you give flowers to the special people in your life? Do you like growing them yourself and taking care of them? How about how beautiful they make your home? Because the agricultural industry has specific niches such as flowers, this is all made possible.
Fabric: Remember that agriculture is responsible for fabric that is present in everyday life. From the clothes you wear to the carpets you walk on to other life components, material plays a significant role in preserving the quality of life.
Now, you know that farmers play a key role in your everyday life and understand National Ag Day's importance!
What is Watt Watchers? Watt Watchers is an organization that fosters conversations around energy conservation, sustainability, and energy efficiency.
We are an organization that recognizes the various components of the world that contribute to sustainability and appreciate, highlight, and celebrate events and initiatives that foster further education and awareness in these aspects.
Our team is also present to answer any questions you may have about the organization, activities, or any other inquiries.
The planet, our home, and even our schools can benefit from energy conservation efforts. The money your school saves on utility bills can then be used for other resources and investments to benefit your classrooms and your students’ education.
At Watt Watchers of Texas, our energy conservation specialists are dedicated to helping schools in Texas join the energy-saving effort. We are also committed to helping teachers prepare to teach energy conservation literacy at any grade level. That is why we have developed various resources to assist teachers, administrators, and parents in teaching and reinforcing the energy conservation lessons they have been working on with their students.
Conserving our planet’s resources is a group effort, and everyone can participate, even kids. To assist with the task, Watt Watchers has developed resources for teachers to add into their energy conservation curriculum.
We have also designed a program just for kids to join in the effort and have fun at the same time. It’s called the Student Patrol Program.
The Watt Watchers activities and lessons you can use to supplement your energy conservation curriculum are divided into six themes. These themes are:
Many of these activities are appropriate for a single day’s class time or take-home learning while others may span several class periods. They can also be used individually or in conjunction with one another for a more well-rounded learning experience. It is entirely up to you how you incorporate them into your Texas classroom, and we at Watt Watchers are excited to see how you can adapt them for the benefit of your students.
All of our lessons and activities are aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) science curriculum standards from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Following each task or activity, we have included a list of the TEKS standards that the training meets to be more easily used as part of your science curriculum.
As a fun and innovative way to get kids involved in and excited about energy conservation, we have developed the Student Patrol Program, the heart of Watt Watchers of Texas. Your students will become official Watt Watchers and will join Lil’ Tex and Ann in their effort to save Texas from the fiendish Wasters Gang. Before you begin your school’s participation in the Student Patrol Program, be sure to meet with your school administrators so they are aware of how the program works, what the kids will be doing, and how it will benefit both the students and your school.
To get your school off on the right foot, we have provided all of the Patrol program materials you can need; you just have to print them out and share them. We even have an 8-page downloadable comic called “Texas is Too Good to Waste” that you can share with your class to help them understand what they are participating in and why. You will select students to be Watt Watchers and then begin your patrols. Once the students see that they have some control over the school’s energy usage and how it can affect those around them, they will feel empowered and excited to go on their next patrol.
Divided among the themes are dozens of activities and lessons for you to use in your classrooms. We have explained the various tasks and easy DIY experiments for you to do with your students. From Kindergarten through 12th grade, there is something for every grade level in each of the themes. Students will be learning about saving energy and having a great time doing so. Some of the older students may even find a potential career path thanks to some of the activities that focus on energy conservation and industry jobs.
Whether you allow your students to go on patrols throughout the school or teach them the importance of “ugly produce,” energy conservation is all about education and the demonstration of benefits. Kids will love having the power to turn off lights in unused classrooms or giving out awards to other classes for a job well done. Older students will get to see the effects of energy conservation in the real world and may even feel inspired to continue to make a difference in college and their future careers.
Are you an educator in Texas and looking for ways to spread awareness at your school about saving energy? In that case, Watt Watchers of Texas has the resources, activities, lessons, and more to help you get your students interested in saving energy at school. We are a state-sponsored STEM program designed to help boost kids’ energy literacy from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Watt Watchers is dedicated to assisting Texas schools in saving money and conserving energy - a win-win for the school and the environment.
We know that it is never too early to start learning about the benefits of energy conservation. That is why we have developed lesson plans and activities that can be used to supplement an entire energy conservation and efficiency curriculum and have them available for free for teachers, administrators and parents. Check out all of our resources, and let us help you bring energy conservation awareness to your Texas school. And don’t forget to encourage your students to join Lil’ Tex and Ann to save Texas from the Wasters Gang’s sinister plans. Texas is too good to waste!
At Watt Watchers of Texas, we believe that Texas - and the rest of the world - is too good to waste, so we have dedicated ourselves to educating adults and children everywhere in the best ways to save energy and conserve our natural resources.
The Watt Watchers team knows that if you’re a teacher or parent explaining to kids how energy conservation works and why it is important can be challenging, so we have developed an energy conservation curriculum with activity supplements that can be used in the classroom or in the home. All of our resources are free to teachers, administrators, and parents to use and combine as needed to increase energy-saving awareness.
No matter the age or grade level of a child, it is never too early to start learning about the benefits of energy conservation. Because saving energy is important and can be done both at home and in school, the Watt Watchers team has developed fun activities to show kids of all ages how they can help make a difference. These activities can be used to supplement the energy efficiency curriculum, which is also available for all teachers and parents, or you can simply enjoy an energy conservation activity on its own.
We have divided the activities into six themes, which span the grade levels from Kindergarten through high school. Many of them are cross-curricular and cross-topic so that your kids can learn how energy conservation can be done in a multitude of environments and scenarios. Our energy conservation activity themes include cooling and heating, electricity, food, water, materials and recycling, and transportation. We also have a section for activities that can specifically be done at home to continue the lessons after the school day has ended.
The fun and interactive activities we have developed show kids how to save energy and teach them about the ways energy works. For example, the food activities have a vast range for kids of all ages. A child in Kindergarten would have a great time completing a solar oven S’mores project with their families. While they make the solar oven with their parents and enjoy a nice snack, they can also learn how the sun provides energy.
On the other hand, older elementary school students can still enjoy the S’more activity too. Yet, they may also be more interested in talking about the produce they see at the grocery store and what it means to buy “ugly produce.” And finally, high school students who are considering their future careers and going to college may be excited to learn more about a career in chemistry and how they may affect the food shortage issue in food deserts of the country. It may also interest them to discover the connection between calories from food and energy expended from the body.
With all of the various activities listed throughout our website, there is truly something for every grade level. Ways to participate in energy conservation are numerous. Watt Watchers wants to show kids, parents, and teachers that participation can begin at any age or grade level.
One of the best ways to spread energy efficiency awareness is by participating in activities that conserve energy daily. While you are at home or school, take a moment to realize when you have done something that saves energy and tell your kids or students what that activity was. Even something as small as turning off a light when leaving a room saves energy that can be used elsewhere. The more you set an example for your children, the more likely it is that they will start to participate as well.
Spreading energy efficiency awareness can also be done through the digital world. Whether it is on social media or through neighborhood watch apps, or anything in between, sharing energy conservation with your friends, family, and neighbors is a great way to spread awareness and keep them informed.
Parents can also spread awareness with their kids by participating in the energy saving activities with their kids. When the kids learn something about energy conservation, be sure to put into action the lessons they have learned in school while at home. Turning off the lights or using reusable water bottles are activities that are easy to participate in.
At Watt Watchers of Texas, we are a state-sponsored STEM program designed to boost students’ energy literacy in Kindergarten through the end of high school through activities and an energy efficiency curriculum. We want to help schools and homes save energy and save money by spreading energy conservation awareness. Our team has developed various free resources, activities, and lesson plans to show kids that it is never too early to participate.
We also have a program called the Student Energy Patrol to further interest kids in energy conservation. They get to join Lil’ Tex and Ann as official Watt Watchers in their quest to protect Texas against the Wasters Gang, and kids can take charge at home and in school with energy-saving activities. To learn more about conserving energy in Texas and how you and your kids can participate, contact Watt Watchers of Texas today! All of our resources are always free.
While health and safety are the priority during the ongoing pandemic, it is still essential to continue your energy conservation efforts at school and home. Reducing the energy consumed will lead to lower utility bills, so more of your budget can support schools during this difficult time. Check out the list below with some helpful tips and suggestions on how to get started.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, some schools have switched to online learning for their students, but some school staff - such as teachers - are working from school buildings to teach virtually from their classrooms.
Turning off lights, unplugging electronics, and adjusting the school’s temperature since there are far fewer people occupying the space, and other small changes can drastically reduce energy usage and utility bills.
There are many ways that you and your students can save energy and save money on your utility bills at your school. Here are some easy methods to conserve energy:
Check out all of the resources that Watt Watchers provides for more information.
At Watt Watchers of Texas, we are dedicated to providing access to resources, lessons, and activities to schools and homes all across Texas (and the country) to spread the word about the many benefits of energy conservation.
We are a state-sponsored STEM program designed to boost energy literacy for grades K-12 and help schools save money on their utility bills. We have dozens of activities and resources available for all age groups, and these are accessible to teachers, administrators, and parents for free!
We have also developed a Student Patrol Program where students will join Lil’ Tex and Ann in their efforts to stop the Wasters Gang. Our goal is to keep Texas as beautiful as ever, and part of that is the energy conservation effort. Contact Watt Watchers to learn more about our programs or check out all of our activities and resources.
Starting in 2002, Texas citizens were able to choose among various energy providers for their electricity needs. Several companies have entered the electricity market, which gives customers a competitive advantage.
Customers can choose which of the electricity providers best suits their needs based on their electricity usage, term lengths, costs, and many other factors.
The goal of opening up the energy utility market is to ensure that Texans have the power to choose.
Although choosing which energy provider is best for your home can feel overwhelming, it is manageable and your decision can save you money.
There are many factors to consider and lots of different providers to research, so it is a good idea to analyze your home's needs first so that you have a way to refine your search for the right electricity provider.
The following is a list of some of the most important factors to consider while choosing which electricity provider is the best option for your home:
If they do lower, you will likely miss out on a cheaper electric bill. Variable-rate plans determine the price you pay based on the fluctuations in the market price of energy. Some months may be higher or lower depending on weather, demand, fuel prices, distribution system, and the market.
Many factors should be considered when choosing the energy provider that is best for you. These are some of the most important, but you should always decide whether an energy provider meets your individual needs.
The options can feel overwhelming, but with careful planning and research, it is possible to find the best plan for you.
Also known as clean technology, green technology, and GreenTech, CleanTech is a set of technologies designed to reduce the use of non-renewable resources or optimizing the incorporation of renewable natural resources. The goal is to positively impact the environment with clean technology solutions that are economically viable and may be potentially profitable.
Technologies that use wind or wave power or those which improve conventional energy production processes (like smart electric grids) are all examples of cleantech. Using sustainable energy is critical to reducing dependence on carbon fuels, and companies that have decided to invest in cleantech use renewable resources such as wind power, hydroelectric power, solar energy, and geothermal energy.
When it comes to teaching kids about cleantech, there are many different topics to discuss and lessons to use which will keep them interested and spur on their enthusiasm for learning about the planet and its resources. Learning about the benefits of recycling at home or how turning off a light in a room no longer in use will demonstrate how their small efforts, in combination with the efforts of people around the world, can contribute to a huge impact.
Watt Watchers of Texas has invested in helping to teach children about the benefits of energy conservation because we believe that it is never too early to start learning about saving energy. We know that children are the future clean technology engineers of the world, so it is integral that they start learning what cleantech is, how it contributes to energy conservation, and why everyone should care about it. With our lessons, activities, and resources, your students and children will be off to a great start in the energy conservation effort.
At Watt Watchers of Texas, we are dedicated to bringing energy conservation education and resources to teachers, school administrators, and parents throughout Texas. We believe that kids of all ages would greatly benefit from lessons and activities about saving energy and money for schools and homes. Watt Watchers is a state-sponsored STEM program designed to boost energy literacy for students in grades K-12. Teachers and parents have access to energy-saving tips, activities, and lessons for free so that they can demonstrate the importance of energy conservation to their students without the stress of developing a new curriculum.
While Cleantech generally refers to companies who have invested in sustained energy sources, there is no reason to think that individuals (yes, kids too) can’t also contribute to the effort to have a positive impact on the climate. Through our cleantech activities and resources, your students and children will better understand how their energy-saving efforts can help to contribute to the betterment of the environment. Contact Watt Watchers to find out more about all of our energy education activities.
Over the last few decades in the United States, non-renewable energy sources - such as fossil fuels - have provided the main source of power for our everyday lives. But to help promote conservation and sustainability efforts, today scientists and industry are exploring renewable energy resources. At Watt Watchers of Texas we are well-versed in all things related to energy conservation, and our education efforts also include information on renewable energy. It is important that children and adults understand exactly what renewable energy is, what types of renewable energy exist, and the importance of clean energy for our homes and schools.
When power is sourced from natural elements such as wind, water, or sunlight, this is considered renewable energy. For example; wind moving a sailboat across the sea without the need for a motor (which uses fossil fuels) to function. Previously, it had been difficult to harness renewable energy for wide usage because they were more expensive, and there were no battery storage technologies capable of holding the energy for long periods of time.However, today we have less expensive ways to harness renewable energy, such as wind and solar energy.
The earth provides several natural, renewable sources of energy that we have been able to harness and utilize for power. These include:
Understanding how these renewable resources can be utilized as a source of power rather than non-renewable resources can be very valuable when working to educate others and begin the transition to these clean energy sources.
Anyone can integrate renewable energy sources into their everyday lives in an effort to be more sustainable. Solar power can be harnessed through PV cell panels or a passive solar home design so that your home can be powered with only the sun’s rays. Small wind turbines can be installed for homeowners to reduce your reliance on the electrical grid. To cool homes in summer and warm them in the winter and even heat water, the constant temperature of the earth can be accessed through geothermal pumps. While these systems are sometimes expensive, some do pay for themselves over time (by reducing utility bills), are often quieter, and can have fewer maintenance issues. Using renewable resources such as water, solar, and wind is a sustainable method of energy, so it is critical that we all learn about the benefits of clean energy and incorporate it into our daily lives.
At Watt Watchers of Texas, we are dedicated to providing STEM-based educational resources to parents and teachers of children in grades K-12 to increase energy literacy throughout Texas and the larger United States. We believe that it is never too young to learn about the benefits of clean energy and energy conservation. Our program offers activities, tips, and lessons on energy saving on a daily basis, and we even have a Student Patrol Program designed to give kids the power to show their schools and families how to conserve energy and save money on utility bills. Contact Watt Watchers today to learn more about all of our valuable resources!
It’s never too early to get kids involved in energy conservation efforts at home and at school. Like adults, children also use energy resources in their daily lives. As technology advances and kids use devices like computers, tablets, and gaming consoles on a regular basis, they need to learn how to and why we should conserve energy.
At Watt Watchers of Texas, we have developed activities, lessons, and resources for teachers and parents to teach children about the benefits of energy conservation. Even Kindergarteners can learn how energy is used in their homes and schools, as well as how to save resources.
Our energy conservation team at Watt Watchers has compiled resources and activities to be used by teachers and parents with children of all grade levels, including Kindergarten. With your guidance, kids can participate in a wide variety of activities with the goal of demonstrating real world actions that positively impact the conservation effort happening around them. Some of the activities we recommend for Kindergarteners include:
There are many more activities that could be added to this list, but the primary goal is to show kids that saving energy is important, can make a difference in the world, and can be fun. Teachers and parents might even gain some exciting new knowledge about energy conservation and what it can mean to your daily lives.
Kindergarten age children are constantly observing their surroundings, listening to and watching their parents and teachers, and learning everything they can about the world around them. They will also imitate the actions of adults, so it is important that adults are conscious of what they say and do regarding energy conservation.
Kindergarteners are figuring out how the world works, and adults need to be their guide as they grow and learn. The simple act of turning off a light as you exit the room is a great starting point for adults to demonstrate how to reduce energy waste. From a young age, kids can learn and develop good energy saving habits from their parents and teachers, and simultaneously discover why saving energy makes a difference in their own lives.
At Watt Watchers of Texas, we are a state-sponsored STEM program designed to boost energy literacy for grades K-12 and to help schools save money through energy conservation. We provide free access to activities, lessons, and resources to teachers, faculty, administrators, and parents in an effort to spread the energy saving message. Whether your kids are in school or homeschooled, we have plenty of resources to provide the knowledge and assistance needed to educate kids about how saving water, energy, and other conservation efforts are beneficial to the world, their schools, and themselves.
And we believe that kids of all ages can and should participate in the energy conservation effort. To make this even more fun for kids, we have developed the Student Patrol Program where kids can join Lil’ Tex and Ann in their fight against the Wasters Gang. When it comes to energy conservation, we are truly dedicated to helping save Texas and the larger world as well as helping educators bring energy saving into their schools and homes. Contact our energy conservation specialists to learn more about how your school can participate in our program and to access our plethora of free resources.
Today, many students and families have become familiar with the concept of “STEM” - or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM provides a solid foundation on which to build a student’s ability to then use what they have learned in the real world. But, have you heard of STEAM?
That’s right. It’s not a typo. STEAM is the latest innovation in education because it combines the lessons and foundations already being taught through STEM subjects and adds the arts and design to it. Hence, STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics. Incorporating the arts into STEM allows for greater creativity, innovation, and application of STEM-based concepts in the real world.
At Watt Watchers of Texas, we understand how critical it is that students get a well-rounded education in order to succeed in life. For that reason, we are able to provide STEAM education resources for teachers and parents throughout Texas. We are excited to help students reach their full potential in the STEAM education system which is why all of our online resources are always free to access and download.
The STEAM education movement was developed by the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in response to the shortcomings of only having STEM education without the added influence of the arts. In terms of “the arts,” it goes well beyond simple aesthetics. Arts incorporates language arts, social studies, physical arts, fine arts, and music. Essentially, the goal of STEAM is to help students connect the principles they learn in STEM fields and apply them through art and design.
By adding Arts into STEM, it allows students to wonder, innovate, and inquire when considering how they can apply the STEM foundations they have successfully learned. While dancing, creating or listening to music, reading literature, or playing games may not seem like activities which encourage serious scientific inquiry, STEAM education provides a way to connect these activities (and many others) to the STEM fields for a fully cohesive and comprehensive classroom experience.
Incorporating arts education into the already established Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics system is not simply a matter of encouraging students to read a work of fiction or listen to a piece of classical music. Rather, the arts are a critical piece of their overall education in the STEM fields because it gives students tools and techniques to figure out ways of solving problems, displaying data, and making connections between fields. Although many people see the STEM fields and the arts in dramatically different spheres of the educational system, they are actually quite complementary to each other and are most necessary for all students to know and understand. For a fully comprehensive learning experience that encourages innovation, it is essential that a STEM education includes the arts component.
While in the classroom, a true STEAM education experience will ensure that the task or activity at hand incorporates a STEM field as well as some type of arts component. Students will need to analyze the situation, examine all of the angles and particulars of the problem, and then develop innovative approaches to solve the issue. The last portion is where being too rigid in their approach can be limiting, so the arts aspects will allow students to be creative, solve problems together, and make inquiries that may not fall in line with the typical STEM principles.
Hands-on projects that include real-world problem-solving skills or scientific principles come to life are two of the best ways to ensure that students are fully engrossed in the STEAM learning experience. The STEM acronym stands for science, technology, engineering and maths. “STEAM” adds the arts – visual arts, new media, drama, music, and so on.
A great example of STEAM learning is our Junk Art activity. This activity focuses on the “reuse” theme of reduce-reuse-recycle. Students collect waste materials (paper, bottles, cans, cardboard tubes, fabric, etc) and find other uses for them either practically, for a school project, or as art objects. Cutting utensils or sharp objects may not be suitable for younger students, but otherwise this is an activity for students of all ages. Students work individually or in groups to decide a scene from a book either read in class or at home to illustrate. Using the shoebox as a “stage,” students should recreate the scene or setting, reusing as many materials as necessary to tell the story. Pencils too short to write can become a fence, and small cardboard boxes can serve as buildings in the setting. Creativity counts, and the more materials used again rather than on first use, the better. The creative process and problem-based learning is what makes this our favorite STEAM activity!
At Watt Watchers of Texas, we are a state-sponsored STEM program designed to help boost energy literacy for students in grades K-12. We have developed programs to help teachers, administrators, and parents show their kids the value of energy efficiency and conservation. We are also advocates of STEAM education and making sure that students get hands-on learning to understand the value of the arts in science. Contact us today to learn more about all of our energy sustainability and conservation programs (including the Student Patrol Program) and to get access to our online resources.
This year the world, including the United States, has been devastated by a virus the likes of which we have not seen for some time. It has required us to stay home, keep our distance from others, close down shops and schools, and wear masks when out in public. One of the most difficult parts of this ordeal has been deciding how education for our kids will continue, and for many schools and teachers, distanced online learning has been the best option.
Students have become extremely used to attending school, seeing their friends, and listening to lessons taught by their teachers every day. That has become a challenge because of COVID-19, and distance learning techniques are being developed, revised, and perfected by teachers, administrators, and parents to ensure their kids can still get the education they need and deserve in the safest way possible.
At Watt Watchers of Texas, we are dedicated to helping parents and teachers show students the value of learning about energy and participating in energy saving efforts, even from the safety of their homes. We have assembled a variety of distance learning resources that can be utilized by parents and teachers no matter what format of online teaching they have chosen to implement. From at-home energy efficiency efforts to joining the Student Patrol Program with the family and everything in between, you can find all of the activities, lessons, and other resources you need to deliver great energy education to your children.
Watt Watchers of Texas understands that the prospect of taking over as your children’s teacher or trying to implement a new subject (energy conservation) without the classroom as a foundation can be daunting for any parent. It can also be tough for teachers to transition from the face-to-face classroom experience to a completely online platform. With our distance learning resources, you can still help demonstrate to your students the importance of energy conservation and conduct activities with them in a variety of themes.
One type of energy that is used in almost every home, business, school, and building throughout the country is electricity. It is very easy to unknowingly or unconsciously waste electricity by leaving on a light in an unoccupied room, not unplugging unused electronics, or even using outdated types of lightbulbs. These activities and resources are perfect for all age ranges and help students understand how electricity can be conserved.
Water is one of the most vital resources for the continuation of life on earth, so it is critical that it is not wasted. The activities and resources provided by Watt Watchers in the water category demonstrate how to conserve water and the many ways that water is used (and overused) throughout the country.
Thankfully, recycling has become an important part of many people’s daily lives. Whether they are drinking water from reusable bottles or making sure they have divided their trash items into recyclable bins, people have truly seen the value of recycling. These activities will show students why recycling is so important when it comes to a finished product’s connection to the materials extracted from the earth which were used to make that item.
Have you ever walked into a retail store or office building and started shivering almost immediately? That’s likely because whoever is in charge of the thermostat has it turned up way too high. The unnecessary energy consumption from air conditioning units or heaters that have been set too cold or too hot, respectively, needs to be discussed. Students will learn best practices when using their AC or heater units (or at least check to make sure their parents have set them to an appropriate temperature).
When it comes to getting from place to place, most people will use some form of motorized vehicle. That means fuel will likely be used. Kids do not need to understand the inner workings of car engines or fuel, but they can definitely see the benefits of carpooling with friends and family to save gas.
In our world, it is important that food is not wasted but rather utilized effectively to keep our bodies running and healthy. Our food activities and resources will show students where their food comes from, how it grows, and what happens to waste after it leaves their kitchens.
At Watt Watchers of Texas, we are proud to have a program dedicated to giving kids the power to watch over their classmates, teachers, administrators, and parents. This program is the Student Patrol. They will join Lil’ Tex and Ann to fight the devious efforts of the Wasters Gang by making sure that energy is being conserved throughout their schools - and homes. We have tips and activities that your kids can do at home to make sure that the Waster Gang doesn’t take over your utility bills, and your kids will enjoy wearing Patrol Program badges and handing out tickets for energy violations or award certificates when they find improvements.
Our energy conservation experts at Watt Watchers are excited to share our online resources with parents and teachers who are struggling to find ways to demonstrate the importance of energy saving to students and kids of all ages. Regardless of your children’s ages or interests, we have resources, activities, and lessons to inspire and educate on all areas of energy education.
Watt Watchers of Texas is a state-sponsored STEM program designed to help boost energy literacy for students in grades K-12. We are dedicated to helping students learn the value of energy resources and to assisting schools and parents at home save money on their utility bills. Whether you need tips, activities, or lessons, we have all the online resources you will need for a distance learning energy conservation curriculum. Check out everything we have to offer or contact us today to find out more!
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Watt Watchers of Texas
204 E. Dean Keeton Street, Austin, Texas 78712